The Angels, a franchise-best and AL-West-leading 50--31, have sizzled for months. Now here come the A's (winners of 9 of 10) and the Astros (11 of 14), a pair of early-season doormats suddenly eyeing the wild-card race. Says Houston's Craig Biggio, "We don't consider ourselves dead."
It's home to four teams over .500 (the division gets a mulligan for the Devil Rays) and has the league's batting leader (Baltimore's Brian Roberts), RBI leader (Boston's Manny Ramirez) and hits leader (Boston's Johnny Damon). No wonder the East has seven of the nine starters in the AL All-Star lineup.
University of Utah
Selection of Andrew Bogut by the Bucks made Utah the first school to yield two top picks--QB Alex Smith went to the 49ers in April--in the same year. A bigger selection may loom: Utah law professor Michael McConnell is reportedly on President Bush's list of nominees to take Sandra Day O'Connor's Supreme Court spot.
At Motocross superstar's most recent race his girlfriend, singer Pink, held a sign reading, WILL YOU MARRY ME? The next lap she held one that read, I'M SERIOUS! prompting Hart to quit midrace and scoop her into his arms. (That was a "yes"). Too good to be true? Hart's also in the cast of The Surreal Life, starting July 10.
On a weekend when three-time All-Star Bret Boone (right) was cut by the Mariners and wept ("I feel like a baby," he bawled), the Bryan twins, Bob and Mike, lost in the Wimbledon doubles final. Mike bowed in mixed doubles (with Martina Navratilova) as well, then noted, "It wasn't a good day."
Just one team over .500--the Padres with the lowest winning percentage (.542) of any first-place team. The West, with no leaders in major stat categories, was so poor in June that the Rockies' 12--15 was the division's best record for the month. No wonder the West had only six of the first 31 NL All-Stars.
Long-locked sharpshooter Matt Walsh (far right) left school early, shaved his head for pre--NBA draft workouts and was projected by some as a first round pick. He wasn't picked. Backcourt mate Anthony Roberson, Florida's top scorer last year, bolted early, too, and also went undrafted.
Let's hope things come in threes for the snakebitten Indians pitching prospect. Riding on Cleveland's bus last September, he was hit in the calf by a stray bullet. In spring training he got nailed in the knee by a thrown bat, and last week, with the Buffalo Bisons, he took a line drive to the head, fracturing his skull. Denney to The Buffalo News: "The quicker I get back out there, the better."
RAY CHAVEZ/THE OAKLAND TRIBUNE (THE A'S BYRNES)
SCOTT COHEN/US PRESSWIRE (BOONE)
JOE ROBBINS/US PRESSWIRE (ROBERSON AND WALSH)
COLOR PHOTO ILLUSTRATION
JOHN D. MCHUGH/AP (PINK); ELSA/GETTY IMAGES (HART)